The role of natural selection in the origin of species

The splitting of one biological species into two, speciation, is a central process in evolutionary biology. Because species are defined as reproductive communities that are isolated from one another, speciation requires the evolution of reproductive isolation. A controversial idea known as ‘speciation by reinforcement’ posits that natural selection can favour increased reproductive isolation when hybridisation … [Read more]

Aid Effectiveness and Policy Coherence for Development: Donor Policies and Practices in Comparative Perspective

This research project explores the extent to which donor countries’ aid and non-aid policies work together in the interests of development, as well as the extent to which donors work with each other and recipient governments. It also seeks to: 1) explain policy coherence and incoherence at the national and international levels; 2) analyze their … [Read more]

Dangerous Denial: An Exploration of Major Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal system, adversely affecting reproduction, neurology and immunology in humans and animals. Numerous substances have been identified as disruptors, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and related compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plastics components such as bisphenol A (BPA). Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring significantly … [Read more]

Biotechnology and Legal Regulation: Personal Freedom, Risk Management and Human Dignity

The regulation of biotechnology is determined by a number of often conflicting legal values and social-economic interests. Human dignity, freedom of research, the right to family life and the right of health inspire regulatory models in the field of bio-medicine and reproduction techniques. Scientifically corroborated risk assessment and interest free trade competes with social-economic considerations … [Read more]

How did Homo sapiens become Homo docens? On the evolution of social learning and teaching during the Paleolithic

The purpose of the project is to analyse why teaching has evolved only in the line leading to Homo sapiens. This will be done by combining theoretical models with an analysis of archaeological material, primarily material from South Africa. The theoretical part of the work views teaching and language as two forms of cooperation. Current research … [Read more]

Global Citizenship and the Practice of Being Human. South African Visions and the Legacy of the Enlightenment.

My proposed project addresses the idea of global citizenship and common humanity in South Africa today. These ideas were powerful in Enlightenment Europe,where they promised a new regime of justice in opposition to despotism, exploitation, and slavery. But they were also highly problematic,  since they tended to obscure cultural difference and impose European values on … [Read more]

Impact of sustainable intensification of food production on environment and human well-being

Africa, once considered the breadbasket of the world, is now strongly affected by problems with food insecurity and malnutrition. Steady increases in African populations coupled with ecosystem degradation, climate change, limited access to modern production technology, poor extension services coupled with poor infrastructure amongst other factors negatively influence food security in many countries. These factors … [Read more]

Transitional Justice: Accountability for wrongdoing in the aftermath of conflict

Alternative methods of justice, such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and amnesties, have been used in the aftermath of several conflicts, including in the wake of Apartheid. Such mechanisms are sometimes described as tools of ‘transitional justice’ that are either especially suited to, or demanded by, the circumstances that arise after periods of extreme violence … [Read more]

The Effects of Race

The STIAS Effects of Race project (EoR) project will address major gaps in our knowledge on race thinking and racialism. The project is informed by the need for further research and reflection on “race,” especially in the context of contesting visions for a democratic South Africa. EoR will catalyze innovative and imaginative approaches to ‘finding … [Read more]

Health transition and injury care and prevention

Apart from making important contributions to morbidity and mortality world-wide (WHO), injuries as a health problem have special characteristics (Byass et al. 2013). Some mechanisms of injury, such as falls, are closely linked to increasing population proportions of elderly people. Others occur less specifically – reflected in the profile of pedestrians involved in road traffic … [Read more]